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Tribal Journeys will come ashore to Suquamish Aug. 3-8

From as far away as Muchalaht Inlet on Vancouver Island, a flotilla of cedar canoes will be arriving at the shores of Suquamish Monday.

To mark the 20th anniversary of the first intertribal canoe journey, the Suquamish Tribe is hosting this year’s journey, a mass canoe pilgrimage expected to draw 80 to 100 traditional canoes and 12,000 people.

Although the celebration will last five days, the journey for some pullers — those from Vancouver Island — started July 18.

The journey is a religious experience as well as a cultural resurgence, emphasized by a quote from Chief Seattle, “Our religion is the tradition of our ancestors.”

“Our religion has more to do with respecting everybody and everything,” said Tina Jackson, Tribal Journeys coordinator. At the first Tribal Journey in 1989, pullers paddled to Seattle in honor of the state’s centennial. The Suquamish pullers had to borrow a boat. Since then, the tribe has acquired three boats of its own.

To accommodate the expected crowds while lessening the effect on the environment, the tribe is undertaking a number of low-impact efforts.

Because of the summer heat, and the exertion of the canoe crews, each guest will be given an aluminum water bottle— to eliminate the need for plastic water bottles — and a cloth grocery bag. Also, the cutlery, plates and cups are biodegradable, and visitors and crews will be encouraged to compost their food waste.

A section of Suquamish Way, east of Division Ave NE, will be shut down for the event. A detour north of Division Avenue NE and east on NE Geneva Street will keep traffic flowing.

For those wishing to visit, three parking lots along State Highway 305 will accommodate cars of visitors. A shuttle bus will deliver visitors to the land ceremony sites.

The welcoming protocol, the ceremonial welcoming of visiting canoes, starts at 1:30, Monday, Aug. 3 at the Suquamish Waterfront.

Drugs and alcohol are not allowed and there is no charge.

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